Tag Archives: Ahab

Macaiah

But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?”

And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” [1 Kings 22:7-8 ESV]

King Ahab knew what he wanted to do. He had already decided to wage war against the king of Syria. They had not fought for three years yet there was constant tension. When king Jehoshaphat, visiting from Jerusalem, he was drawn into Ahab’s conspiracy to attack Syria.

Ahab listened to the 400 prophets of Asherah who encouraged him to go to war. These were the prophets of Jezebel not slaughtered by Elijah on Mount Carmel because they knew better than to accept the invitation from a real prophet (see 1 Kings 18). They were false prophets serving a fictional god.

Jehoshaphat, on the other hand, wanted to hear from God before they attacked Syria. He asked to hear from a legitimate prophet of God and Macaiah was summoned. Ahab hated Micaiah because he told the truth  and never prophesied good about the king. Micaiah told the truth because this is what the true prophets of God speak. If they did not tell the truth then God commanded they die (see Deuteronomy 18:20).

Asherah’s false prophets spoke lies to the king, which he accepted as truth. Macaiah told the truth which Ahab considered bad advice. At the center of Ahab’s universe was himself and all reality must revolve around him. If it did not then the king, and his wife Jezebel, would conspire and murder and manipulate people until it did fit his expectations. Read 1 Kings 16:29 to the end of the book.

Ahab was the worst of a rebellious line of kings of the Northern kingdom of Israel. None of these kings followed God. Rebellion against God is rebellion against truth and the moral standards of truth which originate and come to fulfillment in God.

Micaiah spoke the truth of God because he was righteous in God’s eyes. His righteousness did not come from himself but from the God who made him righteous and put righteous words in his mouth.

And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’” And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.”

And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.”

But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.” [1 Kings 22:11-14 ESV]

Micaiah knew this king, and knew the prophets of the demon Asherah. Knowing the king did not want to hear the truth he entered the presence of the kings and dismissively told Ahab to do what he wanted to do. Go to war with Syria. Be triumphant. Ahab didn’t believe him. His body language and unconcerned posture may have shown Ahab the prophets disdain for the king.

Before Jehoshaphat, whom Micaiah respected, Ahab declared he was to speak only the truth. So Micaiah told him the truth. Israel would be scattered. The king would be killed. Ahab’s false prophets had been given a lying spirit and the king would believe them.

One of the false prophets slapped Micaiah.  Then, Ahab ordered him into a prison cell, with only enough food to exist, until he returned from warring with Syria.

Micaiah’s retort was simple. “‘If you return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘Hear, all you peoples!’” [1 Kings 22:28 ESV]. God’s message was not just for the king but for everyone present. Micaiah suffered because of the righteousness of God. He did not compromise the truth of God. He did not allow anyone to act as if God were not who He is. He spoke the words of God to a people who cared nothing for God. It was not Macaiah’s but God’s words Ahab considered evil.

We do not know if Micaiah was ever released from his prison cell after Ahab died. We can know God cared for him and did not abandon him, for God is trustworthy and takes to Himself those who stand for Him.

How many Christians stand for God and suffer for righteousness and have been forgotten by the world? They are never forgotten by God.

Advertisements

Manassah and God’s Mercy

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. [2 Chronicles 33:1-2 ESV]

God worked in the life and reign of Hezekiah, Manassah’s father.  Hezekiah was a wise man at 25 years old because he listened to those counseling him and sought God like king David, doing what was right in God’s eyes. He felt the weight of his responsibility as king, serving God seriously. He led stubborn Israel in the ways of God. Did he not teach his son Manassah to do the same? If he did, Manassah did not learn from his father. Everything his father had done Manassah undid.

Manaassah’s anger toward God is obvious. What else would drive a man toward evil who had been raised to worship the God of Israel? Manassah was wicked.

God’s promises are stated explicitly in Scripture. Scripture are the words of God every king was to write down for themselves, to know and follow. Scripture were the words the people promised God they would follow after He brought them out of Egypt, led them through their wanderings in the desert, then into the Promised Land. He told them to teach His words to their children. He told them to follow His words and He would bless them. He told them if they did not follow His words His wrath toward them would exceed His wrath toward the nations they displaced. “I will no more remove the foot of Israel from the land that I appointed for your fathers, if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them, all the law, the statutes, and the rules given through Moses” [2 Chronicles 33:8; cf. 2 Kings 21:8 ESV].

Manassah exceeded the evil of those who lived in the land before Israel. “Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel” [2 Chronicles 33:9; cf. 2 Kings 21:9 ESV]. Manassah led the people into greater evil than any other king of Judah.

God gives to people leaders who will accomplish His decrees. Where His people are stubborn and complaining He will give them leaders to quench their stubbornness and silence their complaining. Moses was such a leader. David was such a leader. But, if the people will not listen and continue to rebel, for stubbornness and complaining are evidence of rebellion, He will give them a leader to teach them their rebellion is sin and convince them to return to Him. Manassah and Ahab were such leaders. Ahab, king of the Northern Kingdom never brought the people back to God. In God’s grace, and the harshness of the disciple, Manassah did.

Throughout Scripture are examples of God’s mercy and grace and the personal responsibility those who are His carry before Him. God’s mercy and grace do not absolve anyone from their responsibilities. Grace and mercy freely release the person from the justified sentence of separation from God because of their rebellion when the consequence of the sentence was felt and born by Jesus on the cross. Release from the immediate and temporal cost of rebellion does not happen. What we sow, we will reap. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of one sin. David suffered the consequences of his repeated adulteries though he repented and receive mercy and grace. Manassah sowed sin and rebellion against God and reaped the consequences as determined by the known words and will of God.

Manassah was an evil man. He lead and encouraged Israel to commit idolatry, to worship a lie. He sacrificed his own children in the fire to a detestable idol demon. He consulted those who practiced the occult instead of God’s prophets and priests. He did these things for years. Manassah murdered people. When God spoke to Manassah he ignored Him. When God spoke to His people during Manassah’s reign they ignored Him. Israel followed their leader. “The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention” [2 Chronicles 33:10 ESV]. God told them they would be punished but they did not listen to the warning, repent and turn away from their sin.

Enter God’s rod of punishment, the King of Assyria. “Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon” [2 Chronicles 33:11 ESV]. The word “hooks” means to pierce, as in through the nose. Manassah was bound with bronze shackles and led to Babylon by a chain attached to a hook in his nose. His humiliation was complete.

God knew Manassah would learn from the harsh discipline, repent and turn toward Him, seeking to know Him both intellectually and intimately. Lessons learned from Hezekiah his father were not completely forgotten, rising to the surface in his humiliation and  agony. “And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God” [2 Chronicles 33:12-13 ESV].Though his repentance is not found in 2 Kings it is real, a historical fact in Scripture.

God showed mercy to Manassah, one of the most corrupt kings to reign over Judah. His corruption dissolved in the harsh disciplines of God at the hands of an enemy king, the king of Assyria, who was even more corrupt than Manassah. All are used by God to accomplish His decrees. As evidence of God’s mercy, Manassah was returned to Jerusalem as king, and of his repentance he tore down the idols and false alters and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. But, the consequences of his leading the people astray, for they continued to worship idols, is also evident. Manassah was released from experiencing the wrath of God and showed his changed character by trying to undo all the effects of his rebellion. He was unable to. God used his evil actions, and his repentance, to teach a stubborn and complaining people about mercy, His active love.

Manassah learned his lesson. Most of the people of Judah refused to learn. God does not change but acts according to His love and justice. His purpose is to bring people back to Himself and will use the right means to accomplish His ends which are always for our benefit. Unless we refuse to learn.